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The idea that cloud service providers (CSPs) and data center providers could, and would, move deeper into enterprise managed network services has been floated for years. In 2018, Microsoft Azure soft-launched a new enterprise networking offering, an IPsec-based internet VPN service called Virtual WAN.


  • Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN service is self-managed by the enterprise. Microsoft Azure hosts a central controller platform with simple portal interfaces and automation, but it is up to the buyer to buy its own premises equipment, source its own internet services for connectivity, configure everything properly, and be responsible for ongoing operations.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand how Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN works to set up enterprise networks, and its relationship with key equipment vendors.
  • Assess the most likely near-term enterprise use cases for Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN.

Key questions answered

  • What is the competitive threat of a managed network service such as Virtual WAN?
  • How does Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN differ from managed WAN services offered by network providers?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Anatomy of Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN service
  • Network equipment vendors' contribution to Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN
  • Near-term roadmap for Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN
  • Enterprise use case for Microsoft Azure's Virtual WAN
  • Implications of Virtual WAN to network providers
  • Conclusion: not much threat (yet), but valuable learning experiences


  • Further reading
  • Author

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